The Playlist

Review: Diego Luna's Well-Intentioned, Respectable & Paint-By-Numbers 'Cesar Chavez' Starring Michael Peña

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • March 25, 2014 6:05 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Chavez Micheal Pena
An intermittently compelling overview of a movement, but only a cursory portrait of a man, “Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna, is a well-intentioned, respectable and respectful biopic. But the conservative format of the film, that never goes beyond the kind of paint-by-numbers approach that stultifies so many entries in this genre, was a disappointment, as Luna’s first directorial feature, the small-scale but affectingly odd “Abel” promised better things to come, and at the very least, showed that Luna had a knack for creating characters who were lovable as much for their flaws as for their strengths.

Exclusive: Robert De Niro Speaks Arabic In Clip From David O. Russell's 'American Hustle'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • February 20, 2014 1:09 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
American Hustle Robert De Niro
"De Niro is extremely meticulous when he's really passionate about something and we had endless conversations," director David O. Russell said last fall at a press conference for "American Hustle." "He loved the fact that this man [Victor Tellegio] spoke Arabic—which happens to be one of the true things in the story. Truth is crazier than fiction, but there was a mobster who spoke Arabic... He was really into meticulously constructing this guy. He wanted to do something he'd never done before." And the result is one of the most memorable moments in the film.

Berlin Review: ‘Cesar Chavez’ Starring Michael Pena, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson And John Malkovich

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • February 13, 2014 12:03 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
An intermittently compelling overview of a movement, but only a cursory portrait of a man, “Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna and premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival this week, is a well-intentioned, respectable and respectful biopic. But the conservative format of the film, that never goes beyond the kind of paint-by-numbers approach that stultifies so many entries in this genre, was a disappointment, as Luna’s first directorial feature, the small-scale but affectingly odd “Abel” promised better things to come, and at the very least, showed that Luna had a knack for creating characters who were lovable as much for their flaws as for their strengths. But the Chavez we get here has no flaws, unless his choice to nobly sacrifice time with his family on the altar of a higher cause is a flaw. And of course it’s not. Chavez was a true hero, spearheading the campaign to extend union rights to the exploited migrant worker class in 1960s California, and from there to the whole nation. But without the context of his inner struggle, the personal dragons that he must have had to slay in order be the shining knight for an unrepresented minority, all we get is heroism, and heroism of itself does not make for a particularly interesting tale.

Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Michael Pena & More Dial Up John Hillcoat's 'Triple Nine'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • February 5, 2014 9:19 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Labor Day
While John Hillcoat hasn't had a problem attracting names to his upcoming cop thriller "Triple Nine," there's been a problem with them sticking. Shia LaBeouf, Charlie Hunnam, Michael B. Jordan, Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz have all been linked at various times only to fall away, but like we said, finding replacements hasn't been a problem.

Watch: Michael Peña Leads The Protest In New Trailer For Berlin Bound 'Cesar Chavez'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • January 17, 2014 3:36 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Chavez Micheal Pena
You might have missed it, but earlier today the Berlin Film Festival added even more titles to their already impressive 2014 slate, and in addition to "American Hustle," "The Two Faces Of January" and "A Long Way Down" (new images from the latter two right here), Diego Luna's latest directorial effort "Cesar Chavez" will be screening as well. And a brand new trailer is here to highlight what he's put together.

Michael Peña & Clifton Collins Jr. Eyed For Roles In Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • January 14, 2014 3:40 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
While Marvel likes to keep a veil of secrecy over their projects, it seems they have a leaky faucet in their offices. Just after news broke last night that Johnny Depp was in loose discussions for "Doctor Strange," now another actor is being linked to another big, upcoming project, with Marvel already denying the story.

Watch: Trailer For Diego Luna Directed Biopic 'Cesar Chavez: An American Hero' Starring Michael Peña

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 4, 2013 1:25 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Chavez Micheal Pena
Tremendously talented, but also unfortunately underrated, Michael Peña is the kind of presence we always enjoy in a movie, but he's usually found in a supporting role. But thankfully, Diego Luna has recognized that the actor has more than enough skill and charisma to carry a picture, and he's doing just that in his biopic "Cesar Chavez: An American Hero." And now, we have a taste of how it turned out in the first trailer for the film.

Watch: 4-Minute Alternate Ending For 'Silver Linings Playbook' Gets The Entire Gang Back Together

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 25, 2013 4:23 PM
  • |
  • 13 Comments
While we anxiously await the oddball awesomeness David O. Russell is cooking up with "American Hustle," let's take a victory lap with "Silver Linings Playbook." The screwball rom-com nabbed 8 Oscar nominations resulting in a Best Actress win for Jennifer Lawrence, who shined among a uniformly excellent ensemble in the tale of one man's journey to find a happy medium between his mental illness and the troubles in his life. It's charming, winning stuff, and one extra moment that didn't make it to theaters is now available for you to enjoy at home.

David O. Russell's Next Film Titled 'American Hustle'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 15, 2013 6:45 PM
  • |
  • 11 Comments
American Hustle Bradley Cooper Christian Bale
Okay, while we might prefer the original working title "American Bullshit," it probably would've created a marketing nightmare, so the official replacement? Yeah, it's not too shabby at all.

Michael Pena Joins David O. Russell's Abscam Movie; Robert De Niro Reportedly Also On Board

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 5, 2013 1:05 PM
  • |
  • 9 Comments
Who does David O. Russell think he is? Woody Allen? Okay, we kid, but the number of name-brand stars he's lining up for his still (aggravatingly) untitled Abscam drama is reaching epic proportions. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Louis C.K., Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Rohm, Dawn Olivieri and Jack Huston are already on board the currently shooting movie, which is now adding even more cast members.

Email Updates

Recent Comments